Monday, November 14, 2016

Tech to Manage Your "To Be Read" Pile

There are so many books in my TBR pile that finishing a book presents the paralyzing problem of what to read next. I have limited free time, and I don't want to lose reading time waffling over my next book. How to choose?

I'm an organizer by nature.  I love lists. Spreadsheets make me smile.  The joys of color coding defy words.  And thus began the quest for the perfect way to organize my TBR pile.

Just like every journey, there were ups and downs. Things I liked, and things I didn't.  This is what I tried:

Goodreads - Goodreads provides a FREE and easy way to manage the books you have read as well as the books you want to read.  It allows you to make a TBR list easily.  One click, and the book goes on your list.  My favorite aspect of using Goodreads to maintain my TBR list is that I have access to my friends' reviews as well as what they are reading.  This allows me to discover new books.  The biggest problem I found using Goodreads is that it didn't really do anything to make the TBR list less unwieldy.  I have a HUGE TBR list taunting me.  If you want to make sure you don't forget about a book you want to read, this is a good way to go.

iReaditNow - This is a FREE app for the ios system (sorry Android peeps).  This app provides a catalog system that lets you keep track of what you have read, how you read, and how you felt about what your read.  Unlike Goodreads where your reviews and feelings about what you read can be public, this lets you personalize your experience.  Features of this app include the ability archive books you've read, didn't finish or want to read.  It has a barcode scanner which makes inputting books easy.  You can make notes and attach snapshots.  My favorite part is that it creates graphs and timelines of your reading life.  

Spreadsheets- I normally love charts and spreadsheets, but this method didn't work well for me.  I didn't want to take the time to create the spreadsheet and update it.  I tried.  I really did.  Wasn't going to happen.

Evernote - I don't have enough fingers to count the people who have told me Evernote can revolutionize my life.  I'm still waiting on the revolution, but, as an early skirmish, I tried out Evernote to organize my TBR pile.  I've started a note for each book that has caught my eye that I want to read but do not yet own.  I've noted the name of the book, author, how I found out about it and why I think I may want to read it.  This isn't really reducing or organizing my TBR pile, but it helping with book shopping.

Pinterest - This is where y'all will think I'm a three-headed alien. I don't get Pinterest. Making a board of book covers that I want to read sounds like it may work, in theory.  The last thing I need is to be on the internet.  I will fall down a social media hole while pinning things, and instead of reading and reducing my TBR pile, I'll be all up in celebrity gossip and cat videos.  Pinterest is likely a better solution with someone who has more self-discipline that I do.

What tech do you use to organize your TBR pile?  I still haven't found my organizational peace, but I'm looking.  Help!


Di said...

I started by printing out lists by authors (some provide very nice printable lists on their websites). But since sometimes I want to carry the lists with me, I migrated to using index cards - one or more by author - and use a coupon wallet I got at Walmart to separate by alpha groups. I check good reads to see which books are in series. The I put a check mark when I get the book & cross it when I've read it.

Heather said...

Di - That is a great system!

Carla Swafford said...

My theory is if I hadn't read it in one year from buying it, I will never read it. For paperbacks, I give them away in baskets to other readers. They can go into their TBR pile, but I at least won't be feeling guilty. For ebooks, if I download the book, I must read it or start to read it in one week. But I just started that in the last month.

Probably, if it doesn't get read in a year, it will eventually get deleted. So I'm better at not downloading a book just because it "looks good." Before I buy it or download free, I read the first chapter. I usually can tell if is really what I'm looking for. Saved me a many of 99 cents.

I will say there are already several FREE books I plan to delete. I keep up with those in iBooks, I have a file for "could not finish." Those for sure will be deleted.

Heather said...

Carla - I agree with you. After a year, I declare TBR bankruptcy!